Recent analysis of the fertility performance of the national suckler herd shows that 5 star Replacement Index cows are delivering the best fertility performance for Irish suckler farmers (table 1).
The table above break herds into 5 groups by star rating. Analysis is done on herds with ≥10 cows and where ≥50% of cows have a Replacement Index. This left us with 28,000 herds. The average herd size is 25 animals and the average % of animals with a Replacement Index is 95%.
The national average for calving interval is 400 days. The five star herds came to the top with an average calving interval of 391 days. This is all of 16 days better than the one star herds who had an average calving interval of 407 days. As can be seen from table 1 above the figure for calving interval improves in line with the star rating of the groups.
Calves/Cow/Year shares a similar pattern to calving interval. The average figure for calves/cow/year is 0.85. The five star herds had an average figure 0.88 calves/cow/year. This is 0.08 calves more calves per cow per year when compared to one star herds. What this means is that in a herd of 30 suckler cows is that on average the five star herds would have had 26 calves born in the period and the one star herds would have had 24 calves born. That means two extra calves per year in a 30 cow herd. Again as can be seen from table 1 above the figure for calves/cow/year improves in line with the star rating of the groups.
% Heifers calved 22-26 months
The percentage of heifers calved 22-26 months of age has currently a national average figure of 24%. The five star herds again came to the top with a figure of 28% of heifers calved 22-26 months of age. This is 12% more heifers calved at this age when compared to one star herds. While five star herds are outperforming the rest on this trait, the figure of 28% is still one which can be vastly improved upon.
The stats stack up with the star rating on all the traits. As can be seen above there is a clear difference in performance between one star and five star herds. Five star herds have better performance on all traits above. With the introduction of the beef, data and genomics programme in 2015, we will start to see these figures improve over the next decade as more and more high genetic index stock are born and enter the system.
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